Innovation, Startups and Venture Capital in Iceland

“Innovation isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity” – Minstry for Innovation unveils Innovation Policy

Just now, with the words that “Innovation isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity,” Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir the minister for Innovation, unveiled the Innovation Policy for Iceland until 2030. This policy is the result of work by a bi-partisan group of politicians and stakeholders from the ecosystem, and will be the guiding light for policies, laws, and support for the innovation ecosystem in Iceland until 2030.

The document, which is accessible online (in Icelandic) on the website of the ministry, outlines a vision for 2030, based on five pillars deemed by the group to be material for Iceland to reach their vision of “Nýsköpunarlandið” – “The Innovation Country.” What is absent, however, are actions. Clear-cut, well defined, next steps of what to create, change, improve, shut down.

“Before we create a plan and decide on actions, we need to have vision,” minister for Innovation Þórdís K. R. Gylfadóttir commented. “We need to know where we’re headed to be able to decide on the best approach. This document outlines that vision.”

“Iceland has everything we need to be an active participant in the global innovation ecosystem. It’s the challenge we need to overcome to sustain the exceptional quality of life and prosperity we are privileged to enjoy in Iceland,” Þórdís added.

Do you want more coverage on innovation, startups, tech, and venture capital in Iceland? Support Northstack.

Although direct actions were absent, the minister explained in the preface that we will hear more soon: “I will, following the introduction to the policy, announce actions I believe to improve the innovation ecosystem greatly,” Þórdís wrote. Sources tell me action plans should be expected in the next 6 to 10 weeks.

Based on a short review, the overall policy is in the right direction. The authors call for an innovation policy to transcend elections and individual governments, and paint a visionary picture of Iceland in 2030, where the five pillars – mindset, capital, access to markets, talent, and support systems – all support innovation as the foundation of Iceland’s quality of life.

They then outline guiding principles for all these pillars, some of whom hint at what’s to come.

For instance, that the government should support the development of the early stage venture fund ecosystem, and, that the government should in general not directly invest in companies. A subtle but obvious hint at changes for the New Business Venture Fund, and an explanation to the added capital into “Innovation,” that Northstack has previously covered.

Similar hints, and direct principles and goals, are spread through the policy, and we’ll most definitely cover this in more detail in the future

Sign up for The Northstack Memo, our newsletter covering the Icelandic startup, innovation and venture capital environment.

%d bloggers like this: